For much of the last year it has been difficult for me to find time to dress. Life has just gotten in the way. An ever-growing list of family and work responsibilities, on top of all the little time sucks that carve up the day, has made it inconvenient for me to even think about dressing.
I look at my clothes and recall how wearing them makes me feel. Stepping into a pair of heels, fastening on a bra and putting my forms in, and combing a wig is wonderful and peaceful, exciting and calming all at the same time. The amazing feel of a soft blouse, the freedom of a skirt, and the femininity that wearing a pair of silk panties brings—it’s all a special part of me and who I am.
Recently, I was looking at a blouse hanging in my closet; it’s a particular favorite of mine. I haven’t worn it in ages. I haven’t even underdressed – not even a pair of cotton bikini panties under my jeans on a quiet day. There haven’t been many quiet days recently…
The blouse captivated me; it made me wonder – is this part of me gone? Since my life has changed and my opportunities to dress have radically diminished, am I no longer who I thought I was? Is this just a lull, or have the changes in my life altered what I thought was a core part of my identity?
I realized that I still take the occasional opportunity to visit here, to gaze at female clothes on various store websites, and to think about the possibilities of what I might do to present a more feminine self to the world. How I can improve my posture, soften my voice, and gracefully move within myself. Something is still there inside of me, calling me.
I’ve put a lot of thought into this recently. If I’m not dressing…am I still a crossdresser? How do I truly feel about myself – all of me? How should I present my real self? I’ve passed 60. I’d have thought by now that I would have figured out a lot more about myself and not have to worry so much about all these feelings.
There are clues that have helped me to answer some of my questions. For example, I no longer automatically check the male box on surveys and other forms, especially when there is an option for those of us who are not one or the other. Conversely, I find the myriad of ways that third option is worded to be most amusing. Eventually, we’ll move beyond identifying people by their physical appearance and biological genitalia. Until then, non-gender specific, transgender, non-gendered, non-specified, etc. will have to suffice.
I still want a pair of red flats or low wedges that won’t cost as much as a small house. Not maroon, not pink, not wine – red! I fantasize about going somewhere and spending a week dressed as I feel each day. And, I’ve come to realize something – about myself, and possibly about others like me. It’s not the clothes. It’s not the makeup, or the wig, or the forms, or the padding, or tucking. It’s not any of those things. It’s about who I am. I am both male and female, and I am neither. On a gender spectrum with totally female on one end and totally male on the other, I fall somewhere in the middle. Having a label for it doesn’t really matter.
Let me try to explain. Many times in the past I’ve thought of myself as having two identities. One is Millie – a trying-to-be-confident crossdresser who knows she is as fully female as she can be, except for not having protuberant breasts, a uterus, ovaries, and the related genitalia. The other is the male me – wearing a suit and tie, boxer briefs, being and acting like a typical middle-aged American male. He’s cutting the grass, taking care of his family, being the breadwinner. He has the penis and testicles, facial hair, and sits with his legs wide open—all male.
What I’ve concluded is that I am not, and cannot be, one or the other. All of it is me, regardless of whether I tell you my name is Millicent Teasedale or the one that’s stated on my driver’s license. It’s all me whether I’m wearing boxer briefs, a t-shirt, socks, a white button-down shirt, a suit and tie, and wingtips or when I’m wearing my silk panties and matching bra, a slip, hose, a dress and heels. The clothes don’t matter. The name doesn’t matter.
They are shorthand. They are easy identifiers for those who feel the need to label me. The clothes aren’t me, and neither is the physical body I hang them on. Those are the ways I present myself, but they don’t control me, and they especially don’t define who I am. It’s my choice; sometimes I look like a million other middle-aged American men. Other times, I look like a million other middle-aged American women. (At least, I try to. Some days I’m more successful than other days, but that’s not really important.)
Who I am, what I am, it’s all me. I am a person who enjoys some things, doing some activities, and the person who dislikes other things and activities. I’m a person with beliefs and principles, hopes and dreams, a person who tries their best to live up to the responsibilities life has given them.
Many would try to label me as an M to F crossdresser. I have little interest in transitioning to a female body, although if it happened without conscious effort on my part, I would not be unhappy. I enjoy wearing panties, bras, blouses, skirts, dresses, flats, and pumps. I don’t know if I could do it full time…so I wonder just how far along that gender spectrum I really am.
But again, the clothes, the physical body, they don’t matter. It doesn’t make a difference if I never wear a pair of panties or bra ever again. I will not allow the clothes to define me. It’s not the flesh and bones. They don’t permit me to or prevent me from being who I am.
I am; it’s as simple as that. I don’t need others’ permission, or approval, or anything else to define me and who I am.
I am, and that’s all that matters.